Thomas Yuen
Thomas Yuen, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UC Irvine’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering, is chairman and CEO of PrimeGen Biotech LLC, a private stem cell research company. Courtesy of Thomas Yuen

The UC Irvine Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Lauds & Laurels Extraordinarius award, will this year go to Thomas Yuen ’74 for his superlative business accomplishments, philanthropy and volunteer work at the university. He is the first of UC Irvine’s 150,000 alumni to receive both the Extraordinarius award and the UCI Medal, presented in 1990 for his exemplary service.

Also among those being honored at the 44th annual Lauds & Laurels gala on May 15 is Frank LaFerla, renowned Alzheimer’s disease researcher and newly appointed Hana and Francisco J. Ayala Dean of the School of Biological Sciences. He will receive the Outstanding University Service award.

The event, which is being held in the UC Irvine Student Center’s Pacific Ballroom, begins with a reception at 6 p.m.

Yuen arrived in the United States from Hong Kong in 1970 and four years later graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UC Irvine’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering. In 1980, he and two friends founded personal computer manufacturer AST Research, which grew into a Fortune 500 company. Later, Yuen became chairman and CEO of SRS Labs, a world leader in audio and voice technology. Today he’s chairman and CEO of PrimeGen Biotech LLC, a private stem cell research company.

Yuen has served on the UC Irvine Foundation board of trustees and continues to be a major donor – along with his wife, Misa – to the campus and UC Irvine Douglas Hospital, particularly in support of cutting-edge stem cell research.

A Chancellor’s Professor, LaFerla joined UC Irvine in 1995 as an assistant professor in the then-named Department of Psychobiology. Since then, he has held numerous leadership roles, including chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior and current director of the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, a research center internationally acclaimed for its work on age-related brain disorders.

The Faculty Achievement award will be bestowed on Barbara Dosher, Distinguished Professor of cognitive sciences and National Academy of Sciences member. Also a fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists and the Association for Psychological Science, she is widely known for her research on attention, perceptual learning and memory. Dosher began her tenure at UC Irvine in 1992 and served as dean of the School of Social Sciences from 2002 to 2012.

Fifteen others will be saluted along with Yuen, LaFerla and Dosher for exceptional contributions to the university and their communities.

Net proceeds from table sponsorships and individual ticket sales support the UCIAA student scholarship fund. Last year, the association granted more than $95,000 in scholarships and fellowships. Tickets to the gala are $250, with 10-person tables available by calling 949-824-2586.

The complete list of 2014 Lauds & Laurels honorees:

Outstanding Undergraduate Student

Sasha Sabherwal (social sciences)

Outstanding Graduate Student

Sandra Holden (biological sciences)

Outstanding Student-Athlete

Water polo player Mitch Wise (physical sciences)

Distinguished Alumni

Claire Trevor School of the Arts

Steven Lam, M.F.A. ’04

 School of Biological Sciences

Carl Ware ’74, Ph.D. ’79

 The Paul Merage School of Business

Jack Toan ’94, MBA ’02

School of Education

Steven Keller, Ed.D. ’00

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Douglas Thorpe ’82

Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences

James Patrick Berney ’89

School of Humanities

Taryn Rose ’89, M.D.

School of Medicine

Ami Bera ’87, M.D. ’91

School of Physical Sciences

Shimon Eckhouse, M.A. ’76, Ph.D. ’78

School of Social Ecology

Arif Alikhan ’90

School of Social Sciences

Jackie Lacey ’79

Staff Achievement

Colin Andrews

Faculty Achievement

Barbara Dosher, Ph.D.

Outstanding University Service

Frank LaFerla, Ph.D.


Thomas Yuen ’74